Ten year old Homaira* has Cerebral Palsy, and nine months ago when we started working with her and her family, she was suffering from neglect and abuse. She was unable to hold a pencil, and had bruised knees and elbows from constantly falling over. A very quiet and solitary girl, Homaira was not sent to school and had not learnt social skills, crying and hiding behind family members when our social workers came to visit her. Homaira’s family said that they believed it was shameful to let Homaira go outside. They explained that because she fell over a lot, people laughed at her and local children bullied her. Her clothes were dirty and her physical disability angered her family, who regularly beat her, often with a mobile phone charger.
The nine months of family visits from our social worker have seen them start to champion her in the community; her grandmother even visited the neighbours who used to laugh at her and asked them to apologise. They are more aware of the rights of children with disabilities and have the knowledge required to address her unique needs. They now support and encourage her in her learning; her grandmother, mother, father and aunt all help with her drawing and writing practice. She is now allowed to go to school, which she attends three times a week at our Community Based Education Centre in Wazir Abad, Kabul. Homaira likes pens and notebooks and learns math and Dari on a daily basis. She has learnt to write and can finally count from one to ten.
“We are very happy and appreciative of the work that the project team did for our family. Homaira and her brother are now able to walk and go to school on their own. We have noticed a big difference and are very proud of our children.” – Homaira’s parents.